Man fulfils wife's dream by secretly buying £775k dilapidated CASTLE

Surprise! Husband, 56, fulfils his wife’s dream by secretly buying her a £775,000 dilapidated CASTLE in Wales – but they admit it ‘never be worth’ the cost of renovation

  • Jude Edgell’s childhood dream came true when husband Terry revealed on a beach walk he’d bought a castle
  • He’d put in a secret £775,000 bid after viewing 200-year-old Penllyn Castle near Cowbridge in Glamorgan
  • While chuffed with the property, the couple admit it was ‘a bit of a wreck’ neeing years of improvement work
  • Jude says the budget is a ‘rolling sum’ and says the project is a ‘labour of love’ rather than about getting value

A husband fulfilled his wife’s childhood dream by secretly buying her a dilapidated Welsh castle as they looked for a holiday home. 

Jude Edgell was on a beach walk with husband Terry when he revealed he’d snapped up the fairytale castle near Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, for £775,000.

The only snag was that it was a ‘bit of a wreck’ needing years of work, having fallen into a desperate state of disrepair.

The couple, who have not revealed the cost of the project, admit the ruin will ‘never be worth’ the total cost of the renovation, describing it instead as ‘a labour of love’.

Terry, 56, made the announcement after telling Jude, 58, he wanted to have a serious chat – and she feared he was going to tell her he wanted the couple to separate.

She said: ‘I thought he was going to say divorce and he was very quiet, but he said: ‘It’s too late, they accepted a bid on the castle’.

‘I didn’t believe him, so I checked on Rightmove and it said ‘sold subject to contract’. I said: ‘Is that us?’ and he said yes.’

The stunning castle was snapped up for £775,000 but the only snag was that it was a ‘bit of a wreck’ needing years of work

Jude Edgell was on a beach walk with husband Terry when he made her childhood dream come true by buying a fairytale castle

The couple were looking for a holiday home in Spain – but decided to view 200-year-old Penllyn Castle near Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, out of curiosity

Businessman Terry later secretly put a bid in for the building before making the shock announcement of his big surprise spend on the beach walk

The couple admit that the property is ‘a bit of a wreck’ and will need years of work to bring it up to a respectable standard

Penllyn Castle is a Norman architecture castle, located in Cowbridge, around four miles south-east of Bridgend, South Wales

Jude, of Aberdare, South Wales, said: ‘I wasn’t cross, I was happy because I’d always loved it but I was very scared as well, I knew it was going to change things. I’ve always known about the castle, I have lived by it, but never been in it’

She added: ‘I remember when I was about 25 riding by it and I thought: ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe people live in houses like that’

Terry, originally from Buckinghamshire, works long hours as CEO of Premier Forest Group – so the majority of the project is down to Jude

Terry, 56, made the announcement after telling Jude, 58, he wanted to have a serious chat – and she feared he wanted to separate

There has been a settlement, castle, farmhouse, manor and mansion on the historic site above the River Thaw for well over a thousand years. 

The Castle itself dates back to the early 1100s when it was likely to have been built by Earl Robert of Gloucester’s Sheriff, Robert Norris and had one of the first Norman keeps in Glamorgan. 

In the late 14th Century the Norris heiress married into the Turbervilles who remained in occupation until 1702. 

In that time Penllyn became less of a castle and more a Tudor Manor House. 

In 1702 it was sold and went through various inheritances until Miss Gwinnett, whose brother Button Gwinnett settled in Maryland and was one of the signees of the Declaration of Independence and killed in a dual with his rival General MacIntosh. 

Miss Gwinnett rebuilt the house as a new mansion in the 1790s. in 1846 John Homfray, son of Jeremiah Homfray who had founded the Penydarren Iron Works in Merthyr, bought it. 

Various improvement and alterations were made including the decoration of the Drawing Room in the Third Empire style following a visit to the Paris Exhibition of 1861. 

It changed hands to distant relations in 1961 and has remained in the same hands until it was finally sold to Jude and Terry. 

The old castle even featured in a 2006 episode of Dr Who when actress Pauline Collins played Queen Victoria.

The couple were looking for a holiday home in Spain – but decided to view 200-year-old Penllyn Castle near Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, out of curiosity.

Businessman Terry later secretly put a bid in for the building before making the shock announcement of his big surprise spend on the beach walk.

Jude, of Aberdare, South Wales, said: ‘I wasn’t cross, I was happy because I’d always loved it but I was very scared as well, I knew it was going to change things. I’ve always known about the castle, I have lived by it, but never been in it.

‘I remember when I was about 25 riding by it and I thought: ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe people live in houses like that.’

‘When I walked into the drawing-room on that first day all the hairs came up on the back of my neck, and I still get that pull now, that connection.’

Terry, originally from Buckinghamshire, works long hours as CEO of Premier Forest Group – so the majority of the project is down to Jude.

She set up a team of specialist trade workers including a site manager, specialist conservation architect, archaeologist, heritage specialists and an engineer.

Jude said: ‘I’ve also never had so many sleepless nights in my life, I feel totally overwhelmed, out of my depth, dealing with the size of the property, the problems, the fact that it’s listed.

‘It’s really important to me that long after my days that it’s been done properly, I want it to be there for 100, 200 years, it’s safeguarding it for the future.’

The project has now been ongoing for three years and the couple are looking forward to more exciting home improvements in the hope of moving in in 2024.

The old castle even featured in a 2006 episode of Dr Who when actress Pauline Collins played Queen Victoria.

Jude found some scary monsters of her own and didn’t even realise the castle had a swimming pool – because it was overgrown with brambles.

Jude said: ‘There’s a little enclosed courtyard right in the middle of the house and we’ve had pre-planning permission to have a glass roof put over it.

‘Finding the swimming pool was a funny moment, they had a pool there and it had just been abandoned with just out a net over it and over the 20 years or so the brambles had covered it.

‘We didn’t know it was there until our son Max stepped a corner luckily in the shallow end. The brambles gave way and he literally disappeared and dropped three-foot.’

 

Jude set up a team of specialist trade workers including a site manager, specialist conservation architect, archaeologist, heritage specialists and an engineer

The project has now been ongoing for three years and the couple are looking forward to more exciting home improvements in the hope of moving in in 2024

The old castle even featured in a 2006 episode of Dr Who when actress Pauline Collins played Queen Victoria

Jude found some scary monsters of her own and didn’t even realise the castle had a swimming pool – because it was overgrown with brambles

The house was built in 1790 for Lady Barbara Vernon on the site of a Norman castle ruin. It was then left to her friend Miss Emilia Gwinnett

Jude said: ‘I love the fact that a woman left it to another woman, and now we have a woman in charge of putting it back together’

The couple say there is another two years of work left to do at the Grade II-listed property

They are now hoping to restore the historic mirrors and crystal chandeliers inside

Jude says the budget is a ‘rolling sum’ – and added: ‘It will never be worth what it’s cost us in our lifetime. It’s a labour of love, it’s not about value’

The entire property, including tiles on the roof of the castle, need a facelift to bring it up to an acceptable standard

Jude has embraced the project while her husband has been busy with his own forestry and wood business

The couple hopes the project, which has seen the castle covered in scaffolding, will finally be finished in two years’ time

There has been a settlement, castle, farmhouse, manor and mansion on the historic site above the River Thaw for well over a thousand years. 

The Castle itself dates back to the early 1100s when it was likely to have been built by Earl Robert of Gloucester’s Sheriff, Robert Norris and had one of the first Norman keeps in Glamorgan. 

In the late 14th Century the Norris heiress married into the Turbervilles who remained in occupation until 1702. 

In that time Penllyn became less of a castle and more a Tudor Manor House. 

In 1702 it was sold and went through various inheritances until Miss Gwinnett, whose brother Button Gwinnett settled in Maryland and was one of the signees of the Declaration of Independence and killed in a dual with his rival General MacIntosh. 

Jude said: ‘I love the fact that a woman left it to another woman, and now we have a woman in charge of putting it back together.’

Various improvement and alterations were made including the decoration of the Drawing Room in the Third Empire style following a visit to the Paris Exhibition of 1861. 

It changed hands to distant relations in 1961 and has remained in the same hands until it was finally sold to Jude and Terry.  

The couple say there is another two years of work left to do at the Grade II-listed property. They are now hoping to restore the historic mirrors and crystal chandeliers inside.

Jude says the budget is a ‘rolling sum’ – and added: ‘It will never be worth what it’s cost us in our lifetime. It’s a labour of love, it’s not about value.’

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